You know you're headed to Granada. But what part of town will be ideal for your stay? Here's a quick overview of Granada's most central neighborhoods.
AlbaycínSituated to the northeast of city center, on the hilltop opposite the Alhambra, the Albaycín is a labyrinth of ancient, narrow (and hilly!) cobblestoned alleyways and secret nooks and patios that guard Granada's Moorish roots. Among the area's famously whitewashed buildings you'll find teahouses and Moroccan restaurants, plus a bazaar-style shopping scene with stalls selling colorful crafts, trinkets and Moroccan tea sets.
Remnants of Moorish past include numerous churches (converted from mosques) and a portion of the original 13th-century city wall. The Archaeological Museum is also here, and it's well worth the trek to the Mirador de San Nicolas, an airy plaza with fantastic views. The Sacromonte area, to the northeast of the Albaycín, is the heart of the gypsy quarter, and its caves resonate with flamenco on most nights. Proceed with caution, though—both areas are known for petty crime, and it's easy to get lost in the maze of streets.
Situated to the northeast of the city, this historic (and hilly!) Moorish neighborhood encompasses tourist attractions like . It's also just north of the Alhambra and within easy walking distance of the city center. The city's university is located just a half mile north.
Alhambra-RealejoPerched above the eastern end of Granada is the famed Alhambra, and the hilly streets leading up to it, known as El Realejo, make up what was once the city's Jewish district. A central location makes this area a good jumping off point for exploring the rest of Granada, but be prepared for some steep, cobblestoned hills. Parque Federico Garcia Lorca is a half mile from Alhambra.
Center: CathedralGranada's cathedral marks the heart of the city. Off of this imposing structure branch cobblestoned streets, vibrant as the flamenco dresses hanging from doorways and buzzing with tourists and assorted shops (and overpriced cafés). The Capilla Real houses the crypt of Ferdinand and Isabella, and a five-minute walk to the west will put you in university territory—and at the stunning Monasterio de San Jerónimo.
It's area is a short, but uphill, walk to the Alhambra from some hotels in this neighborhood, while other hotels are are a bit further away. The main train station is within an easy distance. Beware, near the cathedral, of the harmless-seeming ladies who may approach and want to read your fortune.